Perang Topat Celebration: Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara

Hindus and Muslims celebrate the Perang Topat ritual at the Lingsar temple in Lingsar village, West Lombok. The people perform the traditional ritual as an expression of their gratitude to God for a bountiful harvest. The ritual also demonstrates the harmonious relationship between Hindus and Muslims in the region. The site of the ritual itself is a monument of interfaith harmony.

The inner sanctum of the temple houses places of worship for both religions. The Hindu Pura Gaduh stands in the same place as the Kemaliq, a sacred structure for the native Sasak people, who converted to Islam as Panca Nugraha explains.

The Lingsar temple, some nine kilometers northeast of West Nusa Tenggara’s capital, Mataram, was constructed in 1759 by Anak Agung Anglurah Karangasem, who was ruler of the eastern Balinese kingdom of Karangasem, which annexed West Lombok after a successful military expedition.

The annual Perang Topat is held in the temple’s outer courtyard in line with the full moon of the seventh month and in conjunction with the Hindu festival to commemorate the temple’s founding.
Prior to the ritual, the Hindus and Muslims prepare their respective offerings. They mostly comprise cakes, fruit and two buffaloes.

The cow is a sacred animal to the Hindus, while the pig is haram (forbidden under Islamic law), so the buffalo is a good compromise. Actually, it is an ancient tradition that in the Lingsar temple it is not allowed to present any offerings made of beef or pork.

The most important offering in the ritual is thousands of topat, rice boiled in plaited young coconut leaves.

After the ritual, the Hindus and Muslims stage a three-night vigil at the temple.